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Craving a Steak? Well, Take Comfort

March 26, 1997|BEV BENNETT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Bennett is the author of "Dinner for Two" (Barron's, 1994)

To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, my feeling about fat-free food products is that their flavor runs the gamut from A to B. Whatever fat-free food is, "delicious" does not come to mind.

What is most important? Taste, followed by nutrition, then price. If it doesn't taste good, you won't eat it for long. Perhaps the best course is to eat naturally nutritious fruits and vegetables--instead of ersatz foods that substitute fake ingredients for flavor--and occasionally splurge on your favorite comfort foods, complete with butter, eggs and meat.

Batter-coated cube steaks, fried in butter and served with biscuits and pan gravy, is the real thing. No egg whites and no nonstick sprays. Don't make it every day, but when you do, enjoy it. And serve it with steamed baby carrots just for good measure.

COUNTRY-FRIED STEAK

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 (1/4-pound) cube steaks

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Beat egg and water in shallow bowl. Combine 1/2 cup flour, salt and paprika on plate. Dip each cube steak into egg mixture, then into flour mixture to coat thoroughly.

Melt butter in skillet. Add steaks and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove steaks and keep warm.

To fat remaining in skillet, stir in 1 tablespoon flour and combine well to form paste. Stir in broth, scraping up browned bits in skillet, and cook over low heat to form smooth, thick gravy. Add 2 tablespoons milk and heat through. If gravy is too thick, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons milk. Return steaks to gravy just to reheat.

2 servings. Each with 1/4 cup gravy:

326 calories; 957 mg sodium; 184 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams protein; 0.15 gram fiber.

BAKING POWDER BISCUITS

1 cup flour plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for dusting board

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

3 tablespoons butter

5 to 6 tablespoons milk

Sift 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in milk and mix to form slightly sticky ball. Knead 5 to 6 times.

Flatten dough on lightly floured board until 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 3-inch rounds.

Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 450 degrees until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Rework scraps for additional biscuit.

2 or 3 biscuits. Each:

409 calories; 634 mg sodium; 49 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 52 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.19 gram fiber.

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